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Fargo review Episode 1, season 3
Season 3, episode 1 (The Law of Vacant Places), of Fargo is banking on the success from the first two seasons. They are borrowing from most of what has come before in the hopes that the shows overall quirkiness will let them get away with repeating themes, plot elements, characters and even accents. If I wasnt watching Ewan McGregors face on the small screen as Emmit Stussy, I would have guessed from the accent that it was William H Macy from the film.
Its a great formula that the Fargo crew and show-runner Noah Hawley has created. But in this episode, it fails. First, the criminal is not half as menacing as Billy Bob Thornton was in the first season or the Kansas City Crew (and Mike Milligan) in season two. That might change, and I hope it does, fast.
The return of Marge Gunderson is also notable. No, not literally, but the only thing missing from Chief Burgle (played by Carrie Coon) is a pregnancy. Otherwise, we would swear it was our beloved Marge. And shes no Allison Tolman (Chief Solverson) from season one, who brought her own charm to the character. I can see myself coming to like Burgle, but she has yet to steal my heart. (wink, wink)
McGregor's characters are a split of the William H. Macy character from the film, Jerry Lundegaard. And so far, the sum of the two characters, Emmit and Ray Stussy, is less than one Lundergaard. Jerry is a sleazy business man and criminal. Emmit is a sleazy business man and Ray is a criminal. My hat is off to Macy for playing such a complex character that it takes two McGregors to play.
The plot did not grab me. It is different than the first two seasons, but it relies on too many coincidences for my taste. Events in a film or television show work best if they are part of the natural course of character in a particular setting. This plot relies too much on happenstance, so the already fantastic plot becomes improbable.
The sub plot with the younger brother Ray, his job as a parole officer, and his card playing with his girlfriend is interesting, but it adds little to the suspense, so far.
Rating: Matinee It is still an interesting show, even if I have seen most of it before.
I suspect this season will get better over time. Perhaps they should have made the opener a two hour episode to hook us. As for season four, if there is one, I recommend that show-runner Hawley step aside and bring in a totally different crew of writers. How about Tony Gilroy, Margaret Atwood or better yet, Stephen King? It needs something, or this ride will soon be over.